Objective: To measure plasma ACTH, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (aloha-MSH), and insulin concentrations during various photoperiods between February and October in horses and ponies with and without pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID).
Design: Cohort study.
Animals: 13 clinically normal (control) ponies, 14 clinically normal (control) horses, 7 ponies with PPID, and 8 horses with PPID.
Procedures: Blood samples were collected from February through October during 8 photoperiods: 1, February 13 through March 2; 2, April 4 through 6; 3, June 19 through 22; 4, August 6 through 7; 5, August 14 through 17; 6, September 4 through 6; 7, September 26 through 28; and 8, October 16 through 18. Plasma ACTH, alpha-MSH, and insulin concentrations at each photoperiod were compared among groups.
Results: Log ACTH concentration was increased during photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1 through 3, in all groups. In photoperiod 3 through 7, log ACTH concentrations were higher in horses and ponies with PPID, compared with values for control horses and ponies. alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (log and raw value) concentration was higher in photoperiod 2 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1, in control horses and ponies. In horses and ponies with PPID, log alpha-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 3 through 8, and alpha-MSH concentration was higher in photoperiod 4 through 8, compared with photoperiod 1. In control horses and ponies, plasma insulin concentration was lower in photoperiod 3 than in photoperiod 1.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Plasma alpha-MSH and ACTH concentrations increased as daylight decreased from summer solstice (maximum daylight hours) to 12 hours of daylight.